Lower Riviera Historical Survey
What is it about Santa Barbara that makes our City so attractive to so many people? Undoubtedly it is a complementary patchwork of many characteristics, but no one will argue the historic character and architectural beauty of our community add distinct charm to the millions of glossy photographs tourists and residents alike take each year. Naturally, preserving that beauty is of interest to us all, yet just as naturally homeowners want to make needed changes to their property.
To preserve the historic character of our neighborhoods and promote well-reasoned growth, the City has embarked upon an ambitious plan. Historical surveys will be conducted in each neighborhood in the City of Santa Barbara over the next twenty years. The first, a survey of properties along Santa Barbara's waterfront, was just completed. Step two is already under way in the form of a historical survey of the Lower Riviera neighborhood.
Where is the Lower Riviera neighborhood?
The Lower Riviera neighborhood (for our survey purposes) is depicted on the map below. Areas highlighted in green will be surveyed.
My property is going to be surveyed. What does that mean?
You should expect to see volunteers walking the streets, taking photographs of each building in the neighborhood and taking notes as to the composition of each building and structure on site. Volunteers are not checking or enforcing zoning and building code requirements, nor are they being trained on what those requirements are. Volunteers all have badges they are required to present to you upon request. Do not hesitate to ask a volunteer for their badge. Citizens who care about their neighborhood question strangers. Volunteers will remain on public land (i.e. the sidewalk and road) while surveying your property unless you invite them onto your land. Please thank our volunteers. They are your fellow citizens donating their time to reduce the cost of this public expenditure.
What will the City do with the results of this survey?
The City will use the results of this survey to aid planning. By identifying historically significant buildings, structures, and objects in our neighborhoods, the City can attempt to preserve the heritage and architectural beauty of our neighborhoods.
What if my building is selected as a potential historically significant resource? Can I still make changes to my property?
Yes, you may. Changes to the interior of historically significant buildings remain under the jurisdiction of each owner. When exterior changes are proposed to such properties, however, the changes that require building permits must be reviewed to determine if they would result in a substantial adverse change in the historical significance of the neighborhood.
What are the advantages to owning a historically significant property?
Owners of historically significant properties designated as City of Santa Barbara Landmarks or Structures of Merit can utilize the California State Historic Building Code (SHBC). The SHBC is more flexible than the Uniform Building Code (UBC) in many ways and helps owners preserve the historic nature of their building without forcing them to adhere to modern building codes. Historically significant properties help maintain the size, bulk, and scale of neighborhoods when new development is planned. Historically significant buildings alone or as part of a historic district often raise property values not only of their own site but the sites around them.
The Lower Riviera Historical Survey is sponsored by the City of Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, and the Santa Barbara Historical Society